TSB 14-0130 suggested the following repairs for dealers to try:
• Reprogram the HVAC system
• Replace the left side rear air extractor
• Inspect the drain valves and install new drain valves if needed
• Seal the rear horizontal sheet metal lap joints and the rear sheet metal overlap flanges
• Apply undercoating to the auxiliary air conditioning lines and sealed areas
Neither TSB 12-12-4 nor TSB 14-0130 mentions carbon monoxide dangers, and the plaintiffs claim the numerous possible "fixes" show Ford has no clue how to permanently repair the problems.
Although the TSBs had been issued and possible problems in Police Interceptor SUVs were allegedly caused by unsealed gaps and holes, in July 2017 Ford said “[d]rivers of regular, non-police Ford Explorers have no reason to be concerned.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) got involved in 2016 and opened an investigation into exhaust odors in the cabins of 2011--2015 Ford Explorers. NHTSA then expanded the investigation while learning about hundreds of complaints about exhaust fumes and odors.
As of July 2017, NHTSA has received nearly 800 complaints of exhaust odors in 2011--2017 civilian and police Ford Explorers.
In response to the exhaust odor concerns, Ford reported 485 owner complaints, 1,254 warranty claims, 606 dealer field reports and 55 legal claims that involved 2,051 SUVs. Some of those owners reported occupants getting sick from possible carbon monoxide poisoning.
The investigation continues, but NHTSA did report exhaust odors in Explorer Police Interceptors may be caused by cracked exhaust manifolds.
Ford told the judge the lawsuit should be dismissed because the Explorers are safe and customers are always welcome to take advantage of free programs to repair potential exhaust leaks. The automaker also argued the plaintiffs are alleging design defects in the SUVs, something not covered by warranties.
However, the judge said it's too early in the legal process to rule exactly what may be causing alleged exhaust fumes.
“At this stage of the litigation, plaintiffs’ allegations are sufficient to sustain that the exhaust fume defect is covered by the applicable warranties,” said Judge Terrence Berg.